A review of this book deserves serious thought and I'm still seriously lacking the ability to think...straight. However, the beauty of the story is wo...moreA review of this book deserves serious thought and I'm still seriously lacking the ability to think...straight. However, the beauty of the story is worth every one of the heart squeezes and tears I experienced. (less)
The Light Between Oceans is a gripping story filled with fallible yet decent characters. Even though I felt driven to continue reading I was filled wi...moreThe Light Between Oceans is a gripping story filled with fallible yet decent characters. Even though I felt driven to continue reading I was filled with a sense of dread - knowing there were going to be repercussions for the decisions that were made. Not knowing how high a price Tom, especially, was going to pay for wanting happiness for his grieving wife, Isabel. Ultimately, I am pleased I was able to finish (within one day) and quite relieved by the post script style ending. I'm quite impressed by this debut novel and look forward to reading more of her work. (less)
**spoiler alert** My reading of English literature until this work has almost exclusively been limited to those books by Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskel...more**spoiler alert** My reading of English literature until this work has almost exclusively been limited to those books by Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Charlotte Brontë. All of which were not designated "tragedies" and whose heroines' lives, at the conclusion of each novel, alluded to a promising future. Such was not the case with Tess Durbeyfield. Personally, I am partial to happy endings. Knowing the tragic nature of this story is likely why I had not read it before now. I avoided all detailed descriptions, which certainly encouraged my compulsive desire to finish it quickly. I had watched the motion picture, Tess, but that was so long ago (decades) and I recalled nothing of the story based on that one viewing.
I saw Tess as, on one hand, naive, and, on the other, very wise. She was aware of her beauty but she did not use it to make an easier life for herself. She trudged relentlessly through her brief life. She was a diligent and capable laborer, a tolerant daughter, a thoughtful friend, and devoted her heart completely to Angel Clare. Her nature was to be honest; to share her "secret" with him before they married. But no, he would not listen. She was so confident in his love for her (especially after his own post-wedding confession) and even when he essentially turned away from her she blamed only herself. In nearly every action she is thinking of others above herself. The one act she impulsively carries out solely to benefit herself; to bring about her happiness, results in her demise.
The 19th century prose, word usage (British, old, literary), and poor rural dialect certainly hindered my understanding of all that transpired. I used my reading app's dictionary a great deal and re-read many passages. Symbolism and themes abound throughout the book. Thomas Hardy obviously had strong feelings for the character he created. And after reading this treasured classic so do I. (less)
Being a voracious reader with endless literary options is better than being a kid in a candy store. How we choose our next read: a friend's recommenda...moreBeing a voracious reader with endless literary options is better than being a kid in a candy store. How we choose our next read: a friend's recommendation, a website's reviews, a favorite author's latest release, a description that sounds promising, or even a fascinating cover...all these things can lead to being completely enthralled with a creative and talented writer's storytelling. Several of these reasons led me to select The Shoemaker's Wife. I adored Adriana Trigiani's Big Stone Gap Series. The ratings on Goodreads and elsewhere are very positive. The book's description was alluring. I wanted to meet Ciro and Enza; their friends and family - to accompany them on their separate journeys to America and their paths to creating a family, home, and business.
I was captivated with the estimable principal characters and the vividly described locations. I enjoyed the sequence and pace of the book. I was also taken with the character's subtle realizations and the quiet introduction of gadgetry as the book progressed. The chance meetings between Ciro and Enza had a magical quality. Their cherished friendships were touching. Their dedication to their chosen crafts and hard work to obtain their goals was inspiring. Through the triumphs and tragedy, the love and loss, this book is a moving masterpiece!
If anything being married has done nothing to hinder Molly's curiosity and need to find the truth. Daniel's being indisposed for most of the book allo...moreIf anything being married has done nothing to hinder Molly's curiosity and need to find the truth. Daniel's being indisposed for most of the book allowed his new bride to explore, question, and solve crimes much as she did before marrying. She's a detective through and through. Acting like a wife? That will probably take several more books! Yippee! (less)
I decided to read this book solely upon the recommendation of one friend, who just recently said she could "hear" it. Several others, once they found...moreI decided to read this book solely upon the recommendation of one friend, who just recently said she could "hear" it. Several others, once they found out I had a copy, said the book was "INCREDIBLE", "supah", and "wonnnnnderful". They are all right. The Help is all those things. The one word description that I've chosen (and mentioned in an earlier comment) is vivid. I came to hear and envision the time, place, and people through the words and observations of Miss Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny. Their firsthand accounts were what made it all so vivid for me. Their dialog was powerful! Their stories so human. Their inner strength so admirable. I feel so fortunate to have been introduced to them. Thank you, Kathryn Stockett! (less)
After reading a favorable review and the intriguing synopsis I eagerly anticipated reading The Distant Hours.
An old family mystery, an ancient castle...moreAfter reading a favorable review and the intriguing synopsis I eagerly anticipated reading The Distant Hours.
An old family mystery, an ancient castle, a lost letter, the story behind the story - The True History of the Mud Man. Edie, a young woman working in the publishing field, learns that her "dull" mother has a history that she knows nothing of. (Her mother was a 13 year old evacuee taken in at Milderhurst Castle, the home of the author of her favorite childhood book.) The Distant Hours parallels Edie's search for answers in the present (1992) with the lives of Persephone, Seraphina, and Juniper Blythe during the years 1939 - 41. Edie uncovers some of the answers she seeks. She also finds that some things are best left unwritten. Like the true story behind the book that made her a reader.
**spoiler alert** ** spoiler alert ** I found it extremely difficult to rate The Picture of Dorian Gray - probably the most difficulty I've had with a...more**spoiler alert** ** spoiler alert ** I found it extremely difficult to rate The Picture of Dorian Gray - probably the most difficulty I've had with any other book. It was too fine a work to claim I "didn't like it." Too bold to claim it "okay." I settled on "liked it" by default. I found the characters flippant; the "friendships" damning; and the confessions of love frivolous. This book is a character study of human shallowness (as was likely the author's intent.) Although perfect in his youthful beauty Dorian Gray was flawed horribly and too easily influenced. So much so his entire demeanor is horribly changed by his association with Lord Henry Wotton and Basil Hallward. Dorian claims Lord Henry's constant epigrams (for example: Because you have the most marvellous youth, and youth is the one thing worth having.) "cut life to pieces", and that a book Henry gave him "poisoned him." Yet, he called him friend. The painter, Basil, felt so inspired by Dorian that he claimed the picture of him to be his finest work. The picture of youth for which Dorian sold his soul.(less)